This Pride Month, we Invite You celebrate the shared roots of cannabis & queer Liberation along the Trail

In the lush, scenic landscapes of Northern California lies a trail less trodden but rich in both cannabis culture and LGBTQ+ history. From the vibrant streets of the Bay Area to the tranquil beauty of Humboldt County, we invite you to embark on a journey that honors the intertwined narratives of cannabis, queer liberation and the Back to the Land movement. For LGBTQ+ travelers seeking an adventure off the beaten path, The Cannabis Trail offers not only the opportunity to explore the wonders of California’s cannabis culture but also to immerse oneself in the rich queer history of cannabis along the way.

Autumn in Northern California is a best-kept savvy traveler’s secret, with the bounty of cannabis harvests and the warm golden glow of its late summer-like weather in the Bay. Our journey begins in the vibrant city of Oakland, which explodes with rainbow hues every September during its annual Pride celebrations. It offers a diverse and inclusive experience for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. This event takes place on the second Sunday of September, featuring a lively parade, a colorful festival filled with music, food, local vendors, and various community events throughout the weekend.

Day One - Welcome to Oakland, a Cannabis-Infused Pride Celebration

Fly into Oakland International Airport on Saturday and enjoy all the cultural and culinary offerings of the place we affectionately refer to as “The Town.”

Check-in for two nights at the Waterfront Hotel. A coastal oasis overlooking the tranquil waters of Jack London Square, this hotel is cannabis-friendly and near a plethora of delicious food options and entertainment. 

Pick up your favorite cannabis provisions with a visit to Root’d in the 510, a landmark stop on The Cannabis Trail honoring the story of education, equity and community. This inclusive Equity-Owned dispensary in the Temescal District has an earthy yet airy vibe. It features a color-coded legend that features LBGTQIA-owned brands. An excellent stop for seasoned connoisseurs and the canna-curious, their staff are happy to educate and help you navigate their extensive menu.

Getting hungry? Nearby Tacos Oscar is a flavorful favorite for vegans and carnivores alike. After refueling, dance the night away at Fluid 510, one of Oakland’s hottest new nightclubs that has been described as a “Beacon of Queer Joy.” With two bars and a dancefloor, this spot knows how to start the party!

Root'd in the 510, an equity owned shop in Oakland on the Cannabis Trail.

Day Two - Celebrating Oakland Pride

Oakland’s Pride celebration offers diverse experiences for the LGBTQ+ community to unite, honor its history, and celebrate its resilience and pride. 

Kick off your Pride celebrations by joining the iconic Oakland Pride Parade. Watch as colorful floats, vibrant performances, and spirited marchers wind their way through the city streets, spreading messages of love, acceptance, and equality. The energy and excitement will lift your spirits and fuel your celebrations. 

Beyond the parade, Oakland’s Pride festivities encompass many community events and activities. From art exhibitions to film screenings, drag shows to panel discussions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Check out Visit Oakland for a list of LBGTQ-owned businesses and Pride events throughout the city. 

Support LGBTQ+-owned businesses and establishments during your visit. Whether you’re dining at a queer-friendly restaurant, shopping at an LGBTQ+ store, or going on an LBGTQ+ bar crawl, supporting LGBTQ+ businesses is a powerful way to contribute to the community and show your solidarity.

Flore in San Francisco

Day Three - The Queer History of Cannabis & a Bohemian Haven in the Anderson Valley

After checking out at the Waterfront in the morning, head across the bridge to San Francisco for a quick stop in the legendary Castro District. This LBGTQ+ neighborhood played a pivotal role in paving the way for cannabis legalization. A place of acceptance, it was where the community could openly express themselves and challenge the status quo, and it continues to do so today.

Café Flore, a cultural landmark and refuge for LGBTQ+ activists and cannabis advocates, is where the community gathered to share information, support and cannabis during the devastating AIDS crisis. This café is where cannabis pioneers Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary met for the first time in 1974 and where Prop 215, the first medical cannabis legislation of its kind, was drafted. Now a sustainable fish restaurant that retains the original landmark’s heart, its patio is ideal for dining and enjoying the Castro nightlife.

Across the street, the queer-owned Flore Store offers a wide range of high-quality cannabis products, from artisanal flower to infused edibles, beverages and topicals. Visit the Cannabis Trail landmark inside honoring Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary, and don’t forget to check out the impactful mural outside depicting the story of cannabis in the Castro and its connection to Humboldt through symbols like Sasquatch, a redwood tree, Mother Earth, and the Yellow Brick Road bridging San Francisco.

Leave San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge and head toward the Emerald Triangle, the country’s historical hub of cannabis cultivation, comprised of Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity counties.

As we embark on our road trip, we leave behind the bustling streets of Oakland and San Francisco and head north to the bucolic Anderson Valley. Here, we’ll stay at The Madrones, an Italian-style enclave with comfortable, well-appointed rooms nestled outside the town of Philo. 

Check-in for the night at The Madrones.

Brian and Jim of The Bohemian Chemist / Madrones in Anderson Valley. Photo by Rosati Photos.

The Madrones is a beautiful cannabis-friendly LBGTQ-owned getaway with a wine-tasting room, a delightful gift shop, and the elegant Bohemian Chemist dispensary. The shop features vintage cultivars from their 2nd generation family farm, Sugarhill Farm and a handsome antique apothecary backdrop – a must-see experience and an inspiration for cannabis normalization. As you enter the front of the building, you’ll see The Cannabis Trail landmark honoring the story of landrace cultivars, rare cannabinoids, the terroir and cultural cannabis heritage of Anderson Valley at Sugarhill Farm and The Bohemian Chemist.

Also on the property is gay-owned Wickson Restaurant, with Iberian-inspired food and a wood-fired oven. It’s the perfect way to start a cozy evening in the valley. Have a glass of wine or a joint under the stars and lean into relaxation! If you feel like venturing from the property, visit Pennyroyal Farm in nearby Boonville, a lesbian-owned sustainable farm with delicious cheeses and wines all made from the bounty of their property. 

Enjoy the outdoor lounge space and a mocktail at Plantshop

Day Four - Rolling Hills, Sungrown Craft Cannabis and Sustainability

Check-in for the night at Orr Hot Springs or Vichy Hot Springs and Resort.

Venturing north amidst the rolling hills of Mendocino County is Ukiah. This charming town offers a chance to experience cannabis culture alongside breathtaking landscapes. Ukiah isn’t just a cannabis haven; art and history buffs will delight in exploring The Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House, while outdoor enthusiasts can revel in the beauty of wineries, hiking trails, and nearby Lake Mendocino State Park. But for those seeking a unique cannabis experience, Plantshop dispensary awaits.

Plantshop isn’t your average dispensary. LBGTQ+ owned, this Ukiah staple is renowned for its commitment to quality, sustainability, and education. Upon arrival, the welcoming atmosphere sets the tone. Knowledgeable staff provides personalized guidance, ensuring you find the perfect product to suit your needs and preferences. Plantshop offers a curated selection of cannabis flower, pre-rolls, edibles, and concentrates, all sourced from local Mendocino County growers known for their dedication to sun-grown, sustainable farming practices. Relax in their outdoor event space and consumption lounge that looks out to verdant hills where the back-to-the-land community, Greenfield Ranch, still resides. Keep an eye out for its Cannabis Trail Landmark honoring the story of the back-to-the-land movement in Mendocino County. 

Ukiah offers a delightful post-dispensary itinerary. Visit Orr Hot Springs for a luxurious soak, stay in one of their yurts or cabins, or go for a spa experience and cottages at Vichy Springs. Note: Orr is clothing-optional, Vichy is not. Savor a delicious meal at farm-to-table restaurant Cultivo, and on your way out of town, be sure to pick up some coffee and baked goods at Schat’s Bakery.

Hop on the tour bus at Humboldt Cannabis Tours!

Day Five - Rugged Coastline and Towering Redwoods

Check-in for a night at the Carter House Inn in Eureka, where luxurious rooms, an award-winning bar and sumptuous breakfasts await you in one of their four Victorian properties. Select rooms include fireplaces and spa tubs.

Humboldt County offers a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of city life, where one can reconnect with nature and explore the region’s rich cultural heritage. From the charming town of Arcata to the picturesque landscapes of the Lost Coast, Humboldt County welcomes visitors with open arms and a spirit of inclusivity.

 As you delve into Humboldt County’s cannabis scene, you’ll encounter a thriving community of growers, artisans, and activists dedicated to cultivating and preserving the plant. Book a tour at the Humboldt Cannabis Tours Depot, where their friendly and knowledgeable guides can take you on full-day or half-day tours. Visit featured cannabis farms while diving into the region’s history, cultivation techniques, and the vibrant community that has shaped Humboldt into a cannabis haven. The tour depot is a landmark stop on The Cannabis Trail, and it honors the story of The Hippie Trail and the work of Douglas Fir and Lawrence Ringo in Humboldt.

If you have time after that, visit Foggy Bottoms Boys Farm in nearby Loleta for meats, cheeses, and various sundries. They do tours by appointment. LBGTQ+-owned, they also own Jersey Scoops ice cream store, which is open Wednesday through Sunday.

 Post-tour, if you’re feeling peckish, try Gill’s by the Bay or Waterfront Café for fresh, locally sourced seafood. Nearby Arcata features Richard’s Goat Tavern and Tea Room, awarded the best LBGTQ venue. It offers the best martini and karaoke in Humboldt County!

As you journey along the Cannabis Trail from Oakland to Humboldt, we invite you to explore the interconnected histories of cannabis and queer liberation and to celebrate the resilience and courage of those who have fought for freedom and equality. Ultimately, the Cannabis Trail is more than just a physical journey; it’s a celebration of the human spirit and the enduring bonds that unite us in our quest for a more just and compassionate world.

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